Osteopathy works, in pregnancy and beyond!!
Written by Jo Day, Principal Osteopath at Herts Osteopathy
When I was pregnant for the second time I really struggled with pelvic pain, lower back pain and sciatica from around the 36 week mark. It became acutely painful extremely quickly to the point where I couldn’t even put one foot in front of the other without being in agonising pain. I have HSD (hypermobility spectrum disorder), which means that my connective tissue is too lax, which causes me problems daily anyway, but I had always been able to keep this in check with the right weight training and exercise plan, and various other lifestyle changes. However, by 36 weeks with my second baby, my body just couldn’t cope with the excessive amounts of relaxin in my body as pregnancy progressed, and started to give up!! This coincided with the fact that my baby was engaged from 32 weeks, and pretty much stuck right down in the right side of my pelvis. Yup, I had become a waddler!! I don’t think things were helped by the fact that I had a preschooler who I was running around after, and carrying into her cot, and all the other stuff we do as mums on a daily basis. I also carried on working as an osteopath until 35 weeks, so had been on my feet quite a lot.
So here I am, at 36 weeks pregnant and in agony. I walk everywhere, I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other without pain, and I couldn’t even walk 100 metres downhill to where I was living, so needed to catch a bus. It really was THAT BAD. The pain was all consuming, and I just looked and felt grey, I just was not functioning.
I then booked myself in for regular osteopathy appointments along with acupuncture, every two to three days. I also had fascial release through my bump to allow for optimum foetal positioning, which helped to give baby more space, and untuck her from being so far down and on the right. This automatically had the most “lifting” effect, and no longer did I feel that she was stuck in there. After three weeks of intense osteopathy and acupuncture, alongside getting myself insoles for my trainers to help stabilise my ridiculously hypermobile feet I was fixed!! And seriously I went from being in more pain than childbirth, to being completely pain free, it was incredible, miraculous, and simply why I love osteopathy more than I can put into words!!
I went on to have THE MOST AMAZING birth, quick, easy, and in the water, she popped out on the first push, and seriously the quickest recovery ever. I put it all down to osteopathy.
I had always loved osteopathy, this was why I went into it in the first place. But after experiencing first hand the most significant change in my life over such a relatively short period in time, and allowing me to have the birth I wanted, I have truly found even more passion for osteopathy. I feel I am a better osteopath, with more empathy and compassion for my patients who walk in the room for the first time; grey with pain and not being able to function, not being able to sleep or work or hold their baby….. I feel their pain with them, I know how it gets in your head, and becomes all consuming. I then see them the next week, and they look like a different person, they can sleep better, they can work, play with their children…. This is why I love what I do. Osteopathy Rocks!!!! And osteopathy really does change lives.
It makes me so sad when I hear from patients that they have been told that they can’t be helped. Pregnant ladies on a daily basis are being told by midwives and doctors that they will have pain all the way through their pregnancy, and they may end up on crutches or even in a wheelchair. They are also told it will go away as soon as they give birth. Unfortunately, neither of these statements are true. Pain can be eased whilst pregnant, and in many cases can be entirely eradicated with osteopathy and the correct advice from your osteopath about how to move, stand, rest etc… But also, it is so important to know that lots of pelvic pain and SPD doesn’t miraculously go away after labour. Mechanical changes in the body and compensation for old injuries and issues, as well as systemic issues like hypermobility, can all affect your pelvis. A thorough postnatal osteopathy appointment to help ease your pelvis back into alignment, and to reduce any spinal restrictions that may be getting in the way, can massively help bodies to recover faster and more effectively post birth, and can allow your body to heal in the right way and in the right place.
Thankfully we have bundles of evidence to support the use of osteopathy throughout pregnancy and labour (take a look at some of the articles sited below):
“Pregnant women receiving osteopathic care reported experiencing physical and mental health benefits both during pregnancy and in the post-natal period”.
“OMT [Osteopathy] produces clinically relevant benefits for pregnant or postpartum women with LBP”.
………..But we also have real life stories from mums every day telling us how osteopathy changed their life, and allowed them to enjoy their pregnancy, and have the birth they wanted. Here are some testimonials taken from our Facebook page:
“I started [osteopathy] after suffering with SPD in my second pregnancy. I could hardly walk and was in tears but she has changed everything around for me. I was dreading birth but am excited for it again as I am pain free”.
“I suffered badly with SPD during my first pregnancy so when the pain started again at 14 weeks during my second pregnancy, I braced myself for a miserable time……. During the first session [she] had identified the root cause of the problem (hypermobility), something no other physio or osteopath had done…..I felt the benefits of her treatment within 48 hours. I continued…throughout my third trimester and was genuinely amazed and so grateful to make labour mobile and practically pain free”.
More testimonials available at www.hertsosteopathy.co.uk.